Capitol Hill’s NWFF hosts ‘community discussion about the macing of Raymond Wilford’

The “Hands up, don’t shoot” protest over police violence and the slaying of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri has spread across the nation, around the world, and onto Capitol Hill. Thursday night, an incident that echoes with the themes of violence in the name of public safety, race, and the power and the role of media in protest will be the subject of a forum at Capitol Hill’s Northwest Film Forum.

Earlier this month, Seattle freelance photographer and frequent CHS contributor Alex Garland captured pictures and video of a disturbing incident outside the Westlake mall in which private security targeted a black man with pepper spray after a fracas broke out at a protest against violence in Gaza.

Garland will be on hand along with a panel for Thursday’s forum described as “a community discussion about what happened at Westlake, and what we can do as a community beyond recognizing events like these as unjust.”

More details on Thursday night’s free event are below. Continue reading

The Banhs share details on meaty E Jefferson 7 Beef steakhouse: whole cows, primal cuts, parking

Eric Banh is ready to put his recent butchery training to work with a new E Jefferson project that will feature “classic” as well as “primal” cuts of beef that utilize “whole,” local cows.

CHS reported in July on a trio of new projects from brother and sister restaurant partners Eric and Sophie Banh including the debut of the expanded 19th Ave E Monsoon. Monday’s announcement confirms details of the largest of the new ventures that will create a steakhouse near 13th and Jefferson replacing an architect’s office.

“7 Beef will receive whole cows from local purveyors and break them down into primal cuts and ground beef,” the announcement proclaims.

The 7 Beef name refers to “the traditional Vietnamese seven-course beef dinner called Bò 7 Món, where diners sample a variety of small beef dishes.” Continue reading

Von Trapp’s becomes Rhein Haus following name dispute

Rhein Haus signs went up Thursday afternoon (Photo: Bryan Cohen)

Rhein Haus signs went up Thursday afternoon after the name change announcement (Photo: Bryan Cohen)

Capitol Hill’s German beer hall+bocce bar announced on Thursday it was changing its name from Von Trapp’s to Rhein Haus, effective immediately. In a press release sent out Thursday morning, the owners said the name change comes amid complaints by one member of the Trapp family, which owns the Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont. Owners of the 12th Ave bar said aside from the name change and a new website, everything else will stay the same.

“Though the owners vetted the original name and got the federal trademark before opening in early 2013, over the past few months concern has arisen with one member of the Trapp family about confusion between the Seattle Von Trapp’s and the Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont,” said the bar owners in a statement.

“We all feel that in order to differentiate ourselves from the Trapp family, a name change is best for everyone involved,” said owner James Weimann.

The Stowe, VT lodge was founded by the family of Maria von Trapp, whose Trapp Family Singers inspired the 1959 musical and subsequent film The Sound of Music. Rhein Haus owners said they picked the new name to pay “homage to the longest river running through Bavaria.”

Von Trapp’s opened on Capitol Hill in February 2013. Earlier this summer the cavernous beer hall installed a massive patio with additional bocce courts and big screen TVs. The name change comes just a few weeks ahead of what will probably be some rowdy Oktoberfest celebrations.

Newly built 12th Ave apartment project sells for $9.9 million, Gatsby sells for $35.5 million

The former Olympic athlete who developed a 12th Ave property into this four-story, 37-unit apartment building appears to have produced a gold medal-worthy return on the investment.

According to King County Property Records, the recently completed 1711 12th Ave building has sold for $9.9 million. Gramor Development CEO John Graham, “a three time Olympian competing in both track and field, and bobsleigh,” according to his Linked In profile, purchased the property just above Cal Anderson Park for $850,000 in July 2011.

Calculating costs based on one CHS source’s estimates of $160,000 per unit, Gramor would have spent around $5.9 million on the construction. The $3.15 million or so profit sketches out to a 370% return on the initial purchase of the property, by the way. Olympian performance!

Like 11th Ave south of the park where a sixth new building is planned, 12th Ave has been a hot bed for new apartment and microhousing projects large and small.

The happy new owner of 1711 — the entity paid $268,000 per unit for the building — is listed in county records as Capitol Park, LLC. A check of state records reveals no governing persons listed for the recently formed limited liability corporation. If you’re the proud new owner, let us know.

The high-end Gatsby Apartments on 10th Ave E would have cost you an even larger arm and a leg. The project sold this week for $35.5 million — $507,000 per unit. Of course, the buyer also gets to own one of the most notorious building brands in the new wave of Capitol Hill development.

All in all, owning multifamily properties on Capitol Hill seems like a pretty profitable venture. Though, during this latest boom, owning Hill real estate of any type might make you a buck or two.

Taste of the Caribbean ready to share the flavors of Jamaica at 12th and Jefferson

Dwane Blake (Image: CHS)

Dwane Blake (Image: CHS)

Friday at 12th and Jefferson will be like a day at the beach in Jamaica. Taste of the Caribbean will host its monthly fish fry – another step in the changes at the former home of Waid’s and, the restaurant’s owners hope, another moment to further connect with the surrounding neighborhood.

“There’s a lot of building fences, credibility — and really being infused in the community so this can be good for us,” co-owner Carlene Comrie tells CHS. She and Dwayne Blake have operated a restaurant in the shadow of Waid’s since 2013 but with the troubled night spot closing in June and plans to revive a nightclub there apparently ended, the entrepreneurs are now making 1212 E Jefferson theirs with plans to “take over the establishment” as a full-fledged, true-to-Jamaica restaurant.

“We see a lot of folks offering jerk and Jamaican but it’s not really authentic,” Comrie says. “The spice level is traditional, You’ll taste the pimento. You’ll taste the habanero.”

Ready to put the Waid’s chapter behind them and get back to their goal of creating a successful restaurant business, Comrie and Blake are investing in the space with plans to expand hours and offerings. Coming soon will be a liquor license with Caribbean rums and Jamaican beer. The partners want Taste of the Caribbean to have a life of its own.

“Music will be part of the offering,” Comrie said. “There has to be a balance that is struck so that we can do business and offer our customers a taste of the culture.”

Friday’s monthly fish fry is part of what she hopes helps Taste connect with the community.

“In Jamaica, it’s a big thing,” Comrie said. “We go to the beaches and have a nice fish fry.” You can stop by from 11 AM to 9 PM to be part of it. Comrie said they’ll keep the fry events to once per month to help you keep your beach bod.

Taste of the Caribbean is currently open 11 AM to 9 PM on Tuesdays through Saturdays and 4 PM to 9 PM on Sundays. Keep track of changes and learn more on the Taste Facebook page.

Name change for 12th Ave co-op changing the way we view business of death

10463930_710169835695636_4966584017991816651_nA 12th Ave nonprofit that is working to change the way we think about and prepare for death is also working to change how people think of it with a new name: Co-op Funeral Home of People’s Memorial.

“There was some confusion, people didn’t understand the difference between the association and the funeral home,” said Nora Menkin, the co-op’s funeral director.

She’s also aiming to change the way we view funeral homes.

“We chose Capitol Hill because we wanted to be in proximity to hospitals, we wanted to be accessible and convenient,” said Menkin, who started out as an intern at the Co-op in 2007 before being promoted to funeral director in 2009. Being in the mix of things allows the co-op to reach people who may not have given funeral planning a thought. “A lot of people walk in our doors curious about what we do,” she said. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink: Outer Planet creating truly micro-craft brewery on 12th Ave

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The Cal Park microhousing building

The Cal Park microhousing building

A nanobrewery beneath microhousing? Welcome to Capitol Hill!

The first time food and drink entrepreneur team behind Outer Planet Craft Brewing is making plans for a fall 2014 opening on 12th Ave inside the recently completed Cal Park microhousing development.

“We’re trying to maximize the use of the space — that’s our bottleneck,” Outer Planet co-owner Renato Martins tells CHS. He and homebrew-grown brewmaster James Stoecardo are planning to pack the puny brewery into the densely populated neighborhood. Production will focus on keeping Outer Planet’s taps flowing with on premise-produced beers. Martins says OP will start with a Blonde, a Saison, an ESB, an IPA, a Double IPA, a Belgian, and an Ale Stout ready for the first pulls. They’ll be joined by a small assemblage of “carefully selected visiting taps.”

“We’ve been researching a lot around the area,” Martins noted about their search for breweries to feature at Outer Planet. Continue reading

Embattled Waid’s closes doors but 12th and Jefferson nightclub’s days may not be over

A past Richard Heart de Lion production

A past Richard Heart de Lion production

Waid Sainvil said he has shuttered his Waid’s Haitian Restaurant and Lounge for good Sunday night after a few weeks of fighting to keep his popular nightspot open after its liquor license was yanked by the state.

Sainvil announced the closure Sunday and had one last night of partying at the 12th and Jefferson club before closing his joint for good.

Early this month, CHS reported on Sainvil’s vow to keep his troubled club open despite the state’s decision to strip Waid’s of its liquor license following years of alleged transgressions of liquor rules and SPD drug busts. According to a liquor board representative, Waid’s faced five enforcement violations and one licensing issue. In 2012, a series of drug busts were orchestrated by SPD at Waid’s. An account of the violations as documented by the City of Seattle is included on this CHS post

Sainvil told CHS it was racism and the push of gentrification driving authorities to target his lounge after a series of liquor and drug violations at the 12th and Jefferson club. “It’s a black thing,” Sainvil said. “This is the only place in Seattle where black people from all over hang out.”

Despite Sainvil’s end of gutting it out as an all-ages club, the building’s days as a nightclub may not be over. An establishment calling itself the Agora Lounge has applied for a liquor license for the address. Event producer Richard Heart de Lion declined to comment on the application at this time.

What happens when 88 affordable apartments join thousands more less affordable apartments coming to Capitol Hill?

12th Ave Arts stands above the land that used to be home to an East Precinct parking lot (Image: CHS)

12th Ave Arts stands above the land that used to be home to an East Precinct parking lot (Image: CHS)

This summer, 88 affordable apartments will be up for rent at a prime 12th and Pine location. But given Capitol Hill’s 97%+ occupancy rate, you will have to act fast if you want a shot at moving in this fall.

Leasing information went live this week for the below-market units that will make up the affordable housing component of Capitol Hill’s unique 12th Avenue Arts project. Leasing appointments can be made starting June 9th. Capitol Hill Housing is managing the units, adding it to the nonprofit’s substantial stock of affordable housing around central Seattle.

“We expect demand to be brisk based on interest from the general public we’ve received to date,” said CHH’s David Dologite.

The first come, first served apartment units are reserved for those with household earnings no greater than 60% of the area median income, putting max income eligibility in the ballpark of $29,000 $37,000 for a single person and and $53,000 for a four person household. Full-time students are excluded.

There are 8 studios that will rent for $817 a month, 72 1-bedrooms that will rent for $883 a month, and the 8 2-bedrooms that will go for $1,031 a month.

The rents appear to be significantly less than market-rate apartments on Capitol Hill. In March CHS reported that the median priced Capitol Hill studio listed on Craigslist was renting for $1,000 a month.

Continue reading

Champagne solves all problems: Capitol Hill’s Viva building overcomes its color challenges

IMG_1215The color problem that put the brakes on the brand new, six-story, mixed-use Viva building at 12th/Union/Madison?


“They have changed out portions of the siding to a champagne colored metal siding, thus satisfying the accent color issue!” a Department of Planning and Development representative enthusiastically informs CHS.

The new building is already moving forward with moving in new residents and a couple new businesses — including the brand new location for Ines Patisserie.IMG_1206

Capitol Hill restaurant: Boosted ‘suggested gratuity’ was honest mistake

VonTrapps (1)Von Trapp’s wants customers who dined at the 12th Ave restaurant over the Memorial Day Weekend to know there was no monkey business behind miscalculated “suggested gratuity” values appearing on the Bavarian-themed venue’s receipts.

A CHS reader sent us this receipt from a Sunday visit to Von Trapp’s showing the mix-up.

Before this gets filed along with history’s greatest Capitol Hill receipt controversies or some of the small scams we’ve heard about around the Hill over the years (count your change when buying cigarettes, drunk party people), Von Trapp’s manager Rich Fox says the incorrect totals were the result of an honest mistake:

Last Thursday afternoon we made changes to our receipt printing, with one section being the suggested gratuity line. Our POS tech support coded the line and it should have simply calculated the 18% and 20% gratuities on the check total. Instead, it calculated the tip by taking 18% of the pre-tax total and adding the full sales tax amount from the check.

Unfortunately, Dustin and I both were out of town and out of touch Friday-Sunday. When we got back into town and got the messages on Sunday afternoon, Dustin called our POS tech support and got them to correct the formula. It’s embarrassing that it was incorrect for a few days and that we didn’t think to initially run a test on the formula but honestly, it’s such a common thing we didn’t even consider that it would be programmed incorrectly.

It was definitely never meant to lead people astray- the last thing anyone in our industry needs is to be putting dishonest and clearly incorrect data on each and every check, especially a place that has as many people come through the doors as we do. It was also definitely not a plot by our staff to get additional tips- it is impossible for staff members to “fool” the system by adding and deleting items. The only way that they could alter that line is by breaking through the security on our POS back office computer and re-coding the POS brain- or have a incompetent POS tech support person do it for them, I suppose.

The situation emerged as tipping in Seattle has become part of the debate in the plan to bring a $15 minimum wage to the city. Under the mayor’s compromise plan, healthcare and tips will be counted towards employee wages until the end of phase-in periods for small businesses with fewer than 500 employees in Seattle.

CHS posted about the situation on Facebook without identifying the location as we looked into what had happened. The good news, it seems, is there weren’t similar situations reported at other venues.

Von Trapp’s and E Pike’s Poquitos share ownership. Poquitos, we should note, is a CHS advertiser.

Fate of Waid’s still in limbo as liquor board considers late appeal

(Image: Waid's)

(Image: Waid’s)

The state’s effort to strip a 12th and Jefferson nightclub of its liquor license is again in limbo. In April, a state administrative judge upheld violation notices against Waid’s Restaurant & Lounge for serving minors and for having staff without the proper credentials. Owner Waid Sainvil filed an appeal on the judge’s rulings, but after the 20-day deadline. Now the Washington State Liquor Control Board is deciding whether or not to consider Waid’s appeal.

A liquor board representative said a decision on the appeal could happen any day. If the board declines to consider the appeal, they will then make a decision on the liquor license.

In February, CHS spoke with Sainvil who said racism and the push of gentrification was driving authorities to target his establishment after a series of liquor and drug violations at the 12th and Jefferson bar.

“It’s a black thing,” Sainvil said. “This is the only place in Seattle where black people from all over hang out.”

According to a liquor board representative, Waid’s faced five enforcement violations and one licensing issue that were to be examined in court over six hearings after the board initially decided not to renew the club’s license.